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Intel Gears Up For 5G With New Hardware And Software Solutions

New chips dedicated to network optimisation and further investment in its open source toolkit are the highlights of Intel’s plans to support 5G network infrastructure. 

Intel believes that unlocking the full potential of 5G requires transforming network infrastructure “from core to edge.” To this end it has announced the launch of the Intel Atom P5900 platform, the first Intel-architecture based 10nm SoC (system on a chip) for wireless base stations. 

The integrated chip is designed to meet critical 5G network needs, says Intel, including high bandwidth and low latency. Thanks to the Atom P5900, Intel now predicts it will be the world’s leading silicon provider in base stations by 2021. 

“As the industry makes the transition to 5G, we continue to see network infrastructure as the most significant opportunity, representing a $25 billion silicon opportunity by 2023,” says Navin Shenoy, executive vice president and general manager of the Data Platforms Group at Intel. 

“By offering customers the fastest and most effective path to design, deliver and deploy 5G solutions across core, edge and access, we are poised to expand our leading silicon position in this growing market.” 

In addition to the Atom P5900, Intel has announced new 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors. Launched today, Intel claims the 2nd Gen processors deliver an average of 36% more raw performance and an average of 42% more performance per dollar than the prior generation.  

Opening to early access customers only at this stage, Intel has also introduced its first next-generation structured ASIC (application-specific integrated chip) for 5G network acceleration. Codenamed “Diamond Mesa,” Intel says the chip provides a minimum-risk optimisation path for workloads that do not require the full programmability of FPGAs (field-programmable gate array) and targets double the performance efficiency versus the prior generation. 

Completing a quartet of hardware announcements, Intel today unveiled the first network-optimised Ethernet NIC (network interface controller). The Ethernet 700 series offers GPS-based cross-network service synchronisation with hardware-enhanced Precision Time Protocol, a fancy way of saying time is accurately synched across the network to help reduce latency. 

In terms of 5G software developments, Intel says it is expanding its toolkits to “accelerate time-to-market innovation for its customers and partners” with a suite of new features added to the Open Network Edge Services Software (OpenNESS), including support for standalone 5GNR (5G New Radio) and Enhanced Platform Awareness deployments. 

Finally, Intel has announced a series of “strategic collaborations” with the likes of Altiostar, Dell, Deutsche Telecom, HPE, Lenovo, QCT, Rakuten, VMware and ZTE to “ advance network infrastructure capability and speed edge solutions in the market.” 

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